Friday, April 01, 2011

Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail

Originally posted on 4/4/10 for the

Charge of the Write Brigade.

Well, it’s April and with that statement we should see flowers blooming and baby livestock running. It’s true in my town those small horses and cows are falling over themselves. But the flowers are scared.

I live in Utah and Mother Nature never understands a simple thing like seasons. The last few days we’ve been pelted by snow. It’s freezing at night and scorching during noon. Ah well.

Another sign of the first weeks of April is Easter. I won’t wax religious here. That’s not what this blog is for and besides, it’s not my style. I will say that Eater is about living again. Spring is about rebirth, too.

So, how to tie this season into a topic about writing? Simple. Editing.

We come up with these great ideas and eventually write them down. We create these rough drafts and are so proud of our babies. But unless we want them to simply live forever on our hard drives, we want to share them. Some of us want to get them published.

Problem is, they’re not ready. All sorts of imperfections run rampant through them. Things like improper POV shifts, telling far more than showing and even problems in story flow and continuity. Face it writers, our babies aren’t as “cute” as we thought.

The only help available is to find fresh readers to look it over and be honest. After the proper blood bath they create with their red pens, our poor child has fallen into the dirt. All it’s blood oozing on the pavement.

What to do? We pick it up and begin to apply edits. We fix the POV, we unpack scenes to show instead of tell things. We cut and change and fix.

In other words, our baby is reborn. This resurrection of word will happen multiple times. It’s where I live as a writer at this very moment. Like the butterfly from the caterpillar, something far better comes forth.

So have a good Easter, writers, and don’t be afraid of the edits.